Arsenal lining up Fernando Llorente as Van Persie replacement

Arsenal want Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente to replace Robin Van Persie should he leave the Emirates Stadium this summer the Daily Mail report.

It’s understood Arsene Wenger and his scouting team have held lengthy discussions regarding the Spanish international with Van Persie’s exit looking increasingly inevitable after omitting him from their tour of south-east Asia.

The Holland forward revealed earlier this month that he won’t be renewing his contract, which has a year left to run, and is a target for Manchester City, Manchester United and Italian champions Juventus.

Wenger wants to quickly resolve the saga as he continues to prepare for the new Premier League season and will move for Llorente once his captain departs.

The 27-year-old scored 28 times for Bilbao last season winning a place in Vincente Del Bosque’s Spain squad for Euro 2012 although he failed to make a single appearance.

Despite having £28million release clause written into his contract Wenger is hoping to use the money banked from selling Van Persie although it’s thought the Los Leones will do everything in their power to retain Llorente.

The Gunners boss believes the 6ft 5in forward has the physical attributes to cope with the rigours of English football and see’s him as the perfect foil for new signings Oliver Giroud and Lukas Podolski.

Fiorentina frontman Stevan Jovetic and Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski are also being considered as contingencies should they fail to sign Llorente with the latter considered a more realistic target.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is also an admirer of Lewandowski’s but should he win the race for Van Persie’s signature it would leave the door open for Arsenal to move for the Polish international.

The 27-year-old was named the Bundesliga player of the season after his goals fired Dortmund to a second successive title win.

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